Tag - food and drink

European sweet charm: Yummy desserts from Rome to Paris
Purple Tips: Best Afternoon Tea Ever at Jumeirah Hotel Dubai
Purple 10: Food in Greece
Where to eat like a local: Food in Athens
Sweet Tooth in Portugal: A guide to Portuguese desserts
The Bikini Files Part 1: The Ultimate Bikini Diet Plan
Purple Hearts: Bodrum Holiday Resort
Purple Hearts Mexican Food

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Our Purple Foodie buff explores the world-class sweet treats in a flavorful journey from ancient Rome to classy Paris!

Savory cornerstones of Italian Bliss

There are many reasons why you’ve been captivated by this city: It’s snacking alleys, enchanting piazzas, glorious ancient history, unbeatable style, but, come one, between us, we know why you could fell in love with Rome! These luscious goodies are torturing and torturing sweetly your mind…Is there any excuse not to be captivated with a flavorful tiramisu, a crispy creamy cannoli, a cornetti along with a tasty cappuccino, a fluffy millefoglie cake or a delicious frozen treat as the Italian gelato? Of course not!

Our ”Purple Wanderers”  have put together a list of  dazzling treats…The ”Eternal City” is calling you and it’s time for you to answer!


Pana Cotta: Holy Grail of Italian Creamy Puddings


Place: Ristorante alla Rampa

This amazing lightly sweetened cream can truly blown your mind away! In Rome, every Ristorante serves the ”Italian Holy Grail”,  the creamy lady ”panna cotta”! Drizzled by everything from blueberries to fresh strawberries, raspberries or caramel sauce, it will be your perfect friend for a memorable experience after your dinner…


Tiramissu: Keep Calm and Espresso yourself

Place: Bar Pompi

Visit the famous ”Bar Pompi” and you’ll see why its the best in Rome! Some espresso layers with soaked ”lady fingers”- little sponge cakes looking like a cookie – and creamy mascarpone, you will be swooning with joy by its unique taste! Spoil yourself trying one of these amazing non-classic flavors of tiramissu such as strawberry, pistachio, banana and Nutella!


Cannoli: The crispy Sicilian

Italian Sicilian Cannoli

Crispy yummilicious!


Place: Ciuri Ciuri

Piped with ricotta cheese, this combination of light sweetness and crispy feeling , its unbeatable! This one sounds to you a bit ”decadent”? If, yes, grab a bite from a smaller version, a lovely cannolini!


Cornetti: Wake-up calling from the ”Vienna-style” pastry




Place: Barberini
As walking in Barberini’s cafe, you’ll be charmed in a flash by this savory work of art. Buttery and so ”wacky”, the cornetti it’s the perfect buddy for your morning cappuccino!

Purple Tip: Frankly, you should try the cornetti con crema!


Millefoglie: The creamy Italian 


Mille-feuille a la Italia

Italian can do it too!


Place: Cavaletti
You’ve already taste this touthsome cream-layered dessert in reams of versions around the world, but, surely, Italy, has been gifted at making pastry miracles so delightful! The millefoglie here will bowl you over!


Gelato: The frosty Italian miracle

Frosty Italian Treats - Gelato

Italian Gelato rocks!


Place: Gelateria I Caruso
We have shared with you the sweet tooth treasures in Rome, honestly, if we don’t tell you about Gelateria I Caruso, this mini guide would be imperfect! You can’t leave from Rome without seeing live the master gelato maker…Grab some scoops and don’t forget to spice it up with the famed zabaglione (marsala-famous sweet wine made in Sicily).

Purple Tip: Definitely give a try to pistachio & fiordipanna flavor



Délicieux treasures

Paris will always be a gastronomic destination full of surprises! There are so many sweet delicacies that you’ll not guess which one mesmerized you! Its truly hard to resist on those unbeatable pastries, delightful chocolate truffles, lovable macaroons, heavenly mini lemon pies or the splendid mouth-jolt eclairs! We have to remind you what Oscar Wilde wrote once about the world of desserts: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it” and we are utterly agreeable to it! So, sit back and get a load of our mouthwatering list, let’s explore the Parisian delights to die for!


Viennoiseries: Epicure Honoree on our breakfast

French Croissant for breakfast

Mini Chocolate Croissant


Place: Le Moulin de la Vierge, Blanquet Claude



Who wouldn’t be fond of these amazing cute pastries, known as ‘‘viennoiseries” such as the chocolate croissant or the favored ”crème de la crème”, ideal to hang out with our morning espresso! Heading to Le Moulin de la Vierge or to Blanquet Claude, both, claim to be the finest paths to our Parisian goodies!

Purple Tip: Pierre Hermé or as the Parisian call it ”The Picasso of pastry” is the top-notch place to start tasting the sweet side of life!


Cannelés: Little flavorful thieves




Place: Baillardran & Eric Kayser



A sweet tooth in Bordeaux region is surely a must and we assure you that these little custardie cakes will be quite ”deleterious”, so tempting! Canneles are small with spongy custard centre and a caramelised crust, agreeing with everything from your breakfast to dinner, coffee to champagne!


Mille-feuille: Oldie Grand Napoleon



Place: La Pâtisserie des Rêves (“The Bakery of Dreams”)



The well-known creamy treasure has captivated our taste buds from the 17th century! Mille-feuille, also known as the ”Napoleon”, translates to a ”sea” of crispy layers, which have been folded many times. A gooey Puff pastry and a lovely creamy filling  glazed with fondant/icing will dazzle your palate, leaving you absolutely speechless! It’s ideal to go with a summer brunch or a romantic elegant dinner!


Lemon tart/pie: A sunny gentle Princess



Place: L’heure Gourande Cafe & Au Thé Gourmand Tea-House



Don’t you dare to leave the ”City of Lights” without tasting a savoring slice of a lemon pie! With silky meringue or sweetened lemon curd is a Paleo twist in the classic version of the Parisian dessert.


Macaroon: Colorful Liliputian Goodies




Place: Pierre Herme



We’ve been hooked by these babyish round delicacies, a rainbow-gaudy dessert, which is emblematic for the French pastry art.
Pierre Herme is famed for its delicious picture-perfect macaroons known for their unusual flavors! What not to love: rose, macha marron -reminding us mont blanc flavor-, chocolat, mogador -which is passionfruit milk choc-, cafe & montebello -which combines raspberry with pistachio ganache-, just irresistible!


Eclair:  Mr McDreamy’s Charm



Place: Traditional bakeries such as La Pâtisserie de l’Eglise, Le Moulin de la Vierge, La Pâtisserie des Rêves & L’Éclair de Génie

We came across with the latest pastry ”Queen” in Paris and that’s the ”wordéclair” (meaning lightning). Why they’ve translated it like that? Because this yummy French delicacy can be eaten in a ”flash of light”! The most revolutionary place to taste the French bonbon is at L’Éclair de Génie! Adam, the owner, features sweet masterpieces of art, a visual standout like never before! They transformed this classic dessert into a modern canvas with a high-end quality! Clingy high-gloss finishes with pop-art colors adorned with well-known digital images from famous paintings like ”Mona Lisa”, ”The Creation of Adam” or ”The Vitruvian Man”. The flavors ara enlivened with offbeat ingredients like fresh strawberries, salted caramel, popcorn
and much more!


+Must Visit in Paris:

Angelina, where Coco Chanel ate once, try this scandal amazing Mont Blanc

Ladurée, taste all these incredible desserts appeared on ‘’Marie Antoinette’’

Glacier Berthillon for a caramel-ginger gelato


Purple Tips: Best Afternoon Tea Ever at Jumeirah Hotel Dubai

Some friends and I have a regular afternoon tea session. It’s a lovely way of catching up and enjoying a little luxury, but when I saw this, I thought: “I have to have that!” Jasmine Afternoon Tea at the Jumeirah Hotel Dubai.

Served in a 17th century Chinoiserie style, it’s been created by master patissier Eric Lanlard and the word magnificent is the only one that can do it justice! It combines high fashion with the historic beauty of ancient China. It’s a true ying-yang experience! For more, visit the Jumeirah Hotel Dubai website here, assuming you can stop drooling over these pictures of course!
Afternoon tea Jumeirah Hotel Dubai 1 Afternoon tea Jumeirah Hotel Dubai 2 Afternoon tea Jumeirah Hotel Dubai 3 Afternoon tea Dubai 4

Purple 10: Food in Greece

From the freshest fruit and vegetables to mountains of cheese, perfectly grilled meats and desserts dripping with honey, Greece knows its food. Here’s what you should eat on your next holiday to the Mainland or the famous Greek Islands. Enjoy our Purple Travel guide to the best food in Greece.

FetaFeta via @ Grongar

Greek Salad

Greek Salad via @ Roger.salzGyrosGyros via @ Burger Baroness

OctopusGrilled Octopus via @ Klearchos KapoutsisPastitsio

 Pastitsio via @ Wikicommons 

Stuffed Vine Leaves

Stuffed Vine Leaves via @ Avlxyz


Tzatziki via @ traaf


Frappe via @ Avlxyz

LoukoumadesLoukoumades via @ Wikicommons


Bougatsa via @ wikicommons

Where to eat like a local: Food in Athens

In Athens, the Greek capital it would be really difficult to find yourself starving! Souvlaki outlets are all over the city. Souvlaki is the term for what is basically the Greek equivalent to a burger, quick to eat, tasty and really cheap. It’s usually made of meat, chicken or pork, cooked on a skewer and put into a pitta bread with onion, tzatziki and tomato.

However, as a tourist you’ll probably be wandering around the centre. So, here are some tips for an ultimate souvlaki experience in Athens city, whether you’re staying a few days or heading for the beautiful islands.

Some of the most charming areas in downtown Athens are undoubtedly Plaka, Monastiraki and Thissio. Apart from the many archaeological sites, there is also a heap of local restaurants and spots serving various versions of the infamous Greek souvlaki. But, take our advice and have a delicious meal in one of the following places. We bet that you’ll be asking for more food in Athens before the end of your holiday.

Click here to read part one, where to eat like a local, Lisbon edition.

Try Thanassis in Monastiraki and taste the best traditional kebab in town, as this is its one and only specialty. What’s more prices are so low that you’ll be coming back again and again to saturate your cravings. For the traditional gyros, you can’t get much better than Bairaktaris, slap, bang in the middle of Monastiraki Square. Huge portions and great value will set you up for a great night out.

Kavouras in the nearby neighbourhood of Exarcheia is all about the taste. Simple food – no refinement here. And the neighbourhood, a kind of alternative place where people gather is really worth a look.


Another great choice is Nikitas in Psyrri, just across from Monastiraki square, is a good spot for an authentic and tasty lunchtime treat. This place has been serving since 1967, so they must be doing something right. Plata Iroon in the same area is also a firm local favourite.

For those savouring the Greek sun and sea on the shores of Attica, Zachos in Varkiza is also a worthwhile choice. This place serves a wide range of dishes, such as pork or chicken souvlaki, gyros (sliced pork meat, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce, wrapped in pita bread), even traditional burgers. You choose!

Sweet Tooth in Portugal: A guide to Portuguese desserts

The Portuguese sure like their food. Although a relatively small country, their cuisine is somewhat diversified and distinctive in each of the different regions. They value their meats, their seafood is some of the freshest in the world and their vegetables are cooked to perfection, but most of all – the Portuguese love their desserts. You will never have your plate cleared in a Portuguese restaurant without being asked, “What would you like for dessert?”

For those of you that have visited Portugal, you will have probably noticed that every street has at least one pastelaria (pastry shop), usually occupied by a line of locals and tourists alike who have followed the sweet smells of fresh bread and toasted almonds. Dessert specialities include more than a whopping 200 different types of pastries. This national penchant for sweets seems to have originated during the Moorish occupation; in the 15th century, there was the sugar cane planted in Madeira. Then, sometime in the 17th and 18th centuries, Portuguese convents began to be known for their sweet pastries, including specialities such as “toucinho do céu” (heaven’s lard) and “barriga de freiras” (nun’s belly). The convents would frequently compete to see which could produce the best sweets and desserts. There are even stories of the famous Belém pastries, whose recipe remains a closely guarded secret, or the ‘Abade de Priscos Pudim’, dating back to a 14th century legacy from one of the best Portuguese cooks.

There are simply too many desserts to list them all, but if you have one week in Portugal, this is a list of the best seven Portuguese desserts – one for each day of your stay:

The seven best Portuguese desserts

Toucinho do Céu | Translating to ‘Heaven’s Bacon’, this dessert was originally made with pork lard by convent nuns. These were women who understood the intrinsic ingredients of any good dessert: ridiculous amounts of sugar, a boat load of egg yellows and of course, more calories than you can imagine.

Differing from modern almond cakes, Heaven’s Bacon is extremely moist, rather than battery. You can find Toucinho do Ceu anywhere in Portugal, but for a more traditional (and delicious) version – head north to the city of Guimaraes.

Aletria | You will be surprised to hear the main ingredient for this dessert – a very thin kind of noodle (like vermicelli) that was brought into Portugal when the Moors settled. The Portuguese, sweet-toothed by nature, then turned these noodles into a sugary treat by boiling them in milk and adding butter, egg yolk, lemon zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon, creating something a little similar to rice pudding. A very traditional dessert, no Christmas table in Portugal is complete without a generous tray of Aletria.

Ovos Moles | Another dessert that centres on Portugal’s favourite ingredient combination: sugar and eggs galore. Ovos moles means ‘soft eggs’, which pretty much sums up what this dessert is. Portuguese nuns once used egg whites to iron their garments and create this recipe accidently – so as not to waste the remaining egg yellows. Ovos moles come in rolled cakes, inside traditional clay pots or, more famously, inside light wheat dough in the shape of items that symbolize Aveiro and its river.

Azevias de Mertola | Another dessert with origins inside religious institutions, Azevias de Mertola originates from the southern town of Mertola, where nuns devoted themselves to God and to making heavenly treats. The dessert is made up of fried dough pockets, filled with a smooth and creamy paste made of mashed chickpeas. Don’t worry, it tasted nothing like humous; Azevias are super sweet and extra delicious.

Egg threads from Purple Travel

Image via @ Wikicommons

Bolinhos de Amendoa | Aside from sun, white sands and crystal waters, the Algarve is famous for the creative use of almonds. 
Marzipan is taken to a whole new level by Algarvian sweet makers, filling the almond paste with an egg and sugar concoction known as “fios de ovos” – egg threads. Bolinhos de Amendoa is one of the most attractive sweets in the entire country, being most popularly presented in fruit shapes.

Blog Pastel

Image via @ Wikicommons

Pastel de Belem |These egg custard tarts are probably one of the most popular desserts amongst tourists. Originating from the area of Belem in Lisbon, Pastel de Belem is found all over Portugal, under the name Pastel de Nata. Pastel de Belem has been elected one of the “7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy” (yes this is a real thing!); people queue up in Belem to taste this cake where it was originally created, served warm straight out of the oven, with a burnt crust on top, a crumbly pastry base and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. This take-away treat is the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea.

Bolo Rei from Purple Travel

Image via @ Wikicommons

Bolo Rei (King Cake) | A traditional Portuguese cake that is typically made at Christmas and eaten up to Dia de Reis (the day of Kings). Its shape resembles a king’s crown. Made from soft, white dough, raisins, nuts and crystallized fruit, it is not so dissimilar from an English Christmas cake. When families bake this cake, they usually include a little prize within it and whoever slices the piece with the prize has to either bake or buy the next cake the following year.

You should read… Purple Hearts… Albufeira

The Bikini Files Part 1: The Ultimate Bikini Diet Plan

Welcome to the the Bikini Files Part One: The Ultimate Bikini Diet Plan. With just two weeks to go, there’s no putting it off any longer; nutritionalist, Stephanie Preston has whipped up a meal plan to help you lose those extra pounds in no time. Find out more in the ultimate bikini diet plan.

You’ve booked your holiday, you’ve bought a bikini, maybe you’ve even started to pack your suitcase, but still you’re dreading hitting the beach. Sounds familiar? Don’t panic! It’s never too late to get into shape, particularly if you have the thought of stripping off on the beach to motivate you.
We’ve teamed up with top nutritionist Stephanie Preston to bring you a bikini diet plan that will make sure you look and feeling amazing.

The rules

1. Drink more water. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep skin well hydrated in the sun, flush out toxins, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and even helps the body burn its calories more efficiently.
2. Three meals a day, no snacks. There’s no flexibility on this.
3. No grains – that means no rice, pasta, oats, rye, couscous, wheat, quinoa, bread, pizza, pastries, biscuits or cakes.
4. No beans – so forget lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, baked beans, hummus and dhal.
5. Restrict fruit. Your maximum is one portion of berries per day.
6. No alcohol. None. Not even on weekends. And no caffeine either. Unless you want to keep that cellulite.
7. 50-100g lean protein at every meal, such as white fish, oily fish, skinless chicken or turkey, lean beef and lamb, eggs, cheese, tofu or Quorn. Try to add nuts,seeds etc into meals to ensure you get your trace elements.
8. Vegetables are unlimited, except for root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and parsnips and those which are high in sugar, such as beetroot, sweetcorn and sweet potato, which are all banned. Increasing the amount of vegetables eaten overall will ensure you get essential vitamins and minerals as well as aiding weight loss. and try to have a wider variety of foods to ensure getting all the trace elements e.g. nuts,seeds etc

While this may seem quite difficult at a glance, we’ve come up with this meal plan to help you along your way. And remember, if you have more than two weeks, you can loosen up on the rules slightly (include some healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, carrots with dip etc) and include some exercise to keep you toned and fit. But if you’ve left it to the last minute – check yourself into our bikini bootcamp:

Example Menu

Breakfast | Pick one one the following each day:

Mushroom Omelette Thinly slice 100g mushrooms and fry in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil. When the mushrooms are browned, remove and keep warm. Then mix together 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites and cook in the pan. Top half with mushrooms and 25g crumbled feta. Fold.

Yoghurt and fruit Stir 50g fresh fruit – either a combination of berries or melon (no banana) into a pot of live natural yoghurt. Add a squeeze of agave nectar to flavour.

No-grain pancakes with blueberries Mix 50g low-fat cream cheese with 1 egg, then add ½ tbsp vanilla whey protein powder and ¼ tsp baking powder. Pour the batter into a pan and brown underneath, flip, then top with blueberries.

Scrambled tofu with tomato Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a heated pan, and saute garlic and onions for about a minute until the onions start to get wet looking. Toss in some cubed tomato and mix everything together for about another minute so the tomato can get soft. Crumble some extra firm tofu into the pan and mix. Continue to cook until the tofu begins to look reddish from the tomato. Season with black pepper and serve.

Berry smoothie Whiz together 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 50g blueberries and a cup of water in a blender until frothy.

Lunch | Pick one of the following each day:

Greek salad Unlimited cubed cucumber, tomato, red onion, black olives and green peppers. Add 50g feta and mix, before serving on a plate. Splash with olive oil and black pepper to taste.

Brocolli with soy and Brazil nuts Break the broccoli into florets and steam for 4-5 minutes. Toss with raw baby spinach leaves once cooked. Crush garlic and whisk with sesame oil and soy sauce. Drizzle over warm broccoli and add 5 crushed Brazil nuts.

Raw vegetable crudites with chickpea-free hummus Put 1 medium courgette (peeled and chopped), ½ cup tahini, two cloves garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice and ¼ tbsp cumin powder in a blender and whiz until smooth. Serve with capsicum, celery and carrot sticks.

Bread-free goats cheese open sandwich Toast a slice of bread-free bread (mix 150g ground almonds, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 eggs; microwave on high, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until firm to touch). Top with 50g slice of goat’s cheese and melt under a grill. Serve with spinach and baby tomatoes.

Chicken and avocado salad Shred a cooked chicken breast (or 50g cheese if you’re vegetarian) on top of ½ bag of mixed leaves. Serve with half a sliced avocado, a generous sprinkling of celery, chopped black olives and balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad nicoise with tofu mayo Cook 100g tuna steak for 3 minutes on each side in a hot pan. Or, if you’re vegetarian, cook 50g of halloumi. Serve on top of ½ small bag of mixed salad leaves, 6 quartered cherry tomatoes and a 3cm chunk of cucumber (sliced). Tofu mayo: in a blender, put 250g tofu, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, juice of ½ lemon and ½ tsp cayenne pepper; whiz until smooth. Serve 1 large tbsp.

Carrot and Cabbage soya salad Grate one large carrot and ½ large Japanese radish into a bowl. Add shredded cabbage and toss thoroughly. For the dressing, whisk 1 tbsp mustard, ½ clove garlic, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar and 3 tbsp soya milk together. Pour over the salad and serve.

Dinner | Pick one of the following each day:

Moroccan lamb with fennel Trim the fat from 200g lamb fillet (or  use a Quorn fillet if you’re vegetarian) and marinate in dressing (¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp thyme, small bunch mint, juice of ½ lemon, ½ tsp agave nectar and 1 tbsp olive oil – save a little for later). Cut 2 fennel bulbs into chunks and boil for 2 minutes. Drain, coat with remaining dressing and roast at 160°C for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, coat lamb with cooking spray and fry for 10 minutes. Serve with wilted spinach.

Green chicken curry Blend cauliflower to rice texture then cook in bamboo steamer. Fry ½ chopped onion. Add clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tsp grated ginger, ¼ tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp curry powder and ½ tbsp fish sauce. Add chicken breast cubes (or Quorn), brown, add 200g coconut milk and broccoli. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Fillet steak with cauliflower mash Cut a cauliflower into florets and cook in boiling water until tender, then mash. Add pepper and 1 tbsp natural yogurt. Set aside. Heat a griddle pan, spray 100g fillet steak on both sides (vegetarian option: large portobello mushroom) and cook for 3 minutes each side (or to suit). Onions optional.

Chilli and lime squid with zucchini ‘noodles’ Use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons from two medium zucchinis. Wilt in a pan of boiling water, drain and set aside. Fry 100g squid rings (or tofu) in a non-stick pan until tender and opaque. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime on top and stir in zucchini noodles with ¼ deseeded and chopped red chilli. Serve with parsley.

Prawn and vegetable spring rolls Mix ½ clove garlic (crushed), ½ red chilli (chopped), 2 tsp agave nectar, juice ½ lime, small carrot (grated), ½ cup beansprouts, 100g prawns (or tofu) and 1 bunch each mint and coriander. Take a sushi wrapper, add 2 tsp prawn mixture and roll. Seal with hot water. Repeat. Serve with dipping sauce.

Tandoori chicken kebabs with sides Cut a skinless chicken breast (or tofu) into chunks, smear with a low-fat marinade and chill for 1 hour. Serve with cauliflower ground to couscous texture with 1 bunch each parsley and coriander, juice of 1 lemon, pepper and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Grill the chicken on skewers and serve with a dollop of raita.





Purple Hearts: Bodrum Holiday Resort

We started counting on two hands all of the beautiful, adventurous, beachy and sunny places to go in Turkey and well, we completely ran out of fingers (and toes!) There is so much to do in this historic mish-mash of East and West from spending time on the mesmerising beaches to strolling around thousand year old ruins.

Bodrum, picture courtest of GoTurkey.co.uk

There isn’t a place where this is more evident than in the Bodrum holiday resort, which is home to the perfect mix of old and new, ancient and modern, museums and discos. Here’s the latest in our weekly feature with your full guide to Bodrum and its many amazing avenues for fun.

A city of two halves, Bodrum is the site of the famous ancient city of Halikarnassus, one of the old Seven Wonders of the World – but it was destroyed by earthquakes in the Middle ages. A big sailing town, it’s the place where the Turkish elite go to holiday and draws tonnes of British visitors every year. One half of the city is home to beach clubs, bars and cafes, with miles of beaches to choose from while the old side is home to the fancy yachts that sit at the Marina and exclusive shops that stock expensive foods and drink. So let our handy guide help you find out where to go and what to do.


Family affair: If you’re looking to get away with the kids this summer, Bodrum is top notch. Go for an all inclusive option and your little prince or princess will have the time of their lives. Most of the hotels and apartments have pools especially dedicated to little ones, while boat trips, safari jeep adventures, the many beaches and nearby waterpark will leave youngsters itching to come back for more.

Turkish Hamam from Wikipedia

Into cycling? Join a bunch of other biking fanatics and take the cycling high road from Izmir to Bodrum. The tour is organised by a non profit group and led by expert local guides who will bring you along the sea front and lakes and past ancient sites like Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the World.) There’s more info here.

Hamam: Also known as a Turkish bath this is *the* place to go and completely chill out. First thing is a nice sit down in a warmed room, before being scrubbed to within an inch of your life by an attendant who is there just for that reason. If that sounds a little on the groovy side, head for a roll around the nearby mud baths instead.

Nights out: In the immortal words of, erm, Usher, I like to say ‘yeah’ really loudly to the beach clubs and bars of Bodrum. Home of some epic nights out, there are tonnes of clubs to choose from just by the water’s edge. Usually opening around 10, Bodrum’s nightlife is centred on the bars, restaurants and clubs we’re all familiar with in holiday hotspots. It’s actually a nice mix though, of clubs for hardcore party animals and beach bars for a quiet, chilled out drink. Halikarnas is one of our top picks, the outdoor venue is massive, holding around 4,000 people and has some of the best foam parties of the summer.

Haggle: Bodrum’s home to a heap of bazaars open six days a week. There you’ll be able to test your negotiating skills over everything from a needle and thread, to fruit up to beautiful hand painted silk scarves, silver jewellery and leather goods.

Get to the Greek: A quick trip across the water will leave you on the sandy shores of Kos or Rhodes, two of the most famous Greek Islands. These are great for a day trip to spectacular beaches and great lunches.


Camel wrestling: Yes, you did read that right. Every year down the Aegean Turkish Coast, the locals like to indulge in the furious sport of camel wrestling. It’s not that well known amongst us, but it should be! The travelling festival starts with a camel beauty pageant (!!) where the entrants are dolled up with bells and banners before moving on to the main event of fighting it out over a female. There are three ways which a winner can be crowned – making the other scream, fall over or retreat.  It may sound very strange, but there are actually strict rules in place to stop a match and protect the animals and all are specifically trained for the event.


The pools of Pamukkale

The pools of Pamukkale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pamukkale: is a stunning naturally occurring phenomenon that looks like candy floss. Kids and grownups will get a kick out of a day trip to the mountain where you can take a swim in the hot springs. It’s often said, but a trip to the unique surrounds of Pamukkale will be unforgettable.

Bodrum Castle: The historic building is actually the symbol of the whole region. Built by the Knights of St. John, it’s also home to the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Far removed from the idea of stuffy old relics, the museum offers plenty of chances to get your hands dirty and features the remains of underwater excavations from all along the coast. It includes the Uluburun Shipwreck, one of the richest ever discovered.

Blues Cruise: Take one of the so called Blue Voyage trips boat trips that give you the chance to leap into the turquoise salty waters of the Aegean. They usually include a trip to secret coves and secluded beaches as well as anchoring in the middle of the water so you can test your swimming skills. If you get one with lunch cooked on board, it makes the perfect day out to top up your tan with minimal effort.

Ballet boost: If you’re lucky enough to be in town in August, you’ll be able to catch the renowned International Bodrum Ballet Festival. From August 8th, you’ll be able to see some stunning performances in the festival which has been running over 10 years.


Beach shoes

Bodrum beach: the bit that stretches between Bodrum Castle and Halikarnas is great for swimming and has plenty of loungers but is a little on the pebbly side.

Ortakent: Just down the road from Bodrum town, you’ll find Ortakent, a little beachy beauty spot that’s over a mile long. Considered by many as one of the best on the whole peninsula, it is chock-a-block full of facilities (restaurants, beach bars, changing areas) and that means lots of people too!

Bitez: sheltered by a bay, Bitez tends to draw an older crowd thanks to its gorgeous location backed by tangerine orchards, its gently sloping sands and unbelievably clear waters. Hop in one of the handy dolmus buses and you’ll be there in no time.

Tropical Camel Beach: I’ll admit, I didn’t think I’d ever write something that included so many references to camels, but this one is worth it. It’s usually not so crowded, with a lovely long stretch of sand, plenty of umbrellas and loungers and a handful of delicious fish restaurants. The really great news is here you can actually take a camel ride on a separate part of the beach. Now that’ll make a good profile picture.

Turgutreis: Ideal for little chislers, this beach, although not very sandy, is quite shallow so it’s safer for the little one in your life. It’s also home to a lovely new marina, that is perfect for people watching.

Baklava picture from Wikipedia


From doner to mezes and baklava to kunefe, Turkish cooking is an absolute treat. Since you’re by the sea, some of the fantastic fish restaurants are not to be missed either. Of course it varies across the country, but Bodrum has its fair shares of great traditional eateries. Have a go of a Dolma (meaning ‘stuffed thing’) which is generally a mix of meat and veggies wrapped in vine leaves or pastry. There are almost too many types of kebabs to count, from steamed to grilled, with meat or vegetarian, spicy or mild, you can’t leave without at least having sampled a few.

Of course no trip to Turkey is complete without a taste of some powerful Turkish coffee. This stuff will knock your socks off! Well, almost as much as the local spirit Raki, with its aniseed flavour. Also known as Lion Milk, that’ll give you an idea of its effects!!

Purple Hearts Mexican Food

A few of my male friends even started their own ‘Burrito Wednesday’, touring the London Mexican haunts each week, with testosterone in abundance and Coronas in hand. Whilst I didn’t even know what an avocado was in my childhood, I now consider myself somewhat of a guacamole connoisseur and chips and dip is a regular ‘can’t be bothered to cook’ staple. Yet aside from the obvious burritos, enchiladas and huevos ranchos, how much do we really know about Mexican food?

‘New Mexican’ can be both gastronomically glorious and a culinary confusion. Is chile with an ‘e’ still chilli? Do you know your pintos from you black beans? Does the word chimichanga connote some kind of hallucinogenic to you? Get your head around the lingo, with our gringo’s guide… to the best Mexican Food.

Chili Peppers

Chili Peppers (Photo credit: camknows)

Achiote-Annatto: a spice used in the Yucatan region
Albondigas: meatballs.
Atole: a thick, hot gruel made from corn.
Biscochitos: an anise-flavoured cookie.
Burrito: a white flour tortilla, filled with meats, beans, cheese, or a combination of these, and rolled, served smothered with chile sauce and melted cheese.
Capirotada: a raisin and walnut pudding.
Carne Adovada: cubes of pork that have been marinated and cooked in red chile, garlic and oregano.
Chalupas: (little boats) corn tortillas fried into a bowl shape and filled with shredded chicken, and/or beans, and topped with guacamole and salsa.
Chicharron: pork skin, fried crisp.
Chile con queso: chile and melted cheese mixed together into a dip.
Chiles Rellenos: roasted, peeled and stuffed (often with cheese) chiles, usually dipped in a batter and fried.
Chimichanga: a burrito that’s deep fried, and smothered with chile and cheese.
Chorizo: a spicy pork sausage, seasoned with garlic and red chile.
Cilantro: a pungent green herb used in salsas, etc; the seeds are coriander.
Curtido: pickled vegetables, typically cabbage, carrots. similar to cole slaw
Empanada: a turnover, filled usually with a sweetened meat mixture or fruit.
Enchiladas: corn tortillas filled with meat, beans or cheese, and either rolled, or stacked, and covered with chile sauce and cheese.
Fajita: strips of grilled steak or chicken that come with tortillas, sautéed peppers and onions, and other side dishes to make do-it-yourself burritos.
Flan: caramel custard dessert.
Flautas: tightly rolled, fried to a crunch, enchiladas.
Frijoles: beans.
Guacamole: mashed avocado, usually with chopped onion, tomatoes, garlic, lime and chile.
Habanero: Extremely hot pepper
Horchata: a delicious rice beverage
Horno: outdoor, beehive-shaped ovens.
Huevos Divorciados: Two eggs, one covered in green salsa, one in red, with tortillas in between
Huevos Motulenos: eggs with black beans, cheese, often ham, peas, plantains and picante
Huevos Rancheros: corn tortillas, topped with eggs, usually fried, smothered with chile and cheese.
Jalapenos: small, fat chiles, very hot, frequently used in salsa.
Mancha Manteles: a stew with turkey, chorizo, pork, pineapple, apple, chiles cinnamon, lard, tomatoes
Menudo: a soup made with tripe and chiles (known as “breakfast of champions”).
Nachos: tostados topped with beans, melted cheese, sliced jalapenos, sometimes served “Grande” with ground beef, or shredded chicken, guacamole and sour cream.
Natilla: soft custard dessert.
Pico de Gallo: salsa with chopped fresh chiles, tomatoes, onions and cilantro.
Posole: a thick stew made with hominy corn simmered for hours with red chile and pork.
Quesadilla: a turnover made of a flour tortilla, filled with cheese or other ingredients, then toasted, fried or baked.
Refritos: beans that have been mashed and fried, most often in lard.
Salsa: generally an uncooked mixture of chile, tomatoes, onions.
Sopaipilla: Puffed, fried yeast bread, eaten split and filled with honey-butter.
Tlacoyo: toasted masa cakes stuffed with various items, similar to pupusas
Taco: a corn tortilla either fried crisp, or just softened, and filled with meats, cheese, or beans, and fresh chopped lettuce, onions and tomatoes.
Tostados: corn tortilla chips, also, a open face corn tortilla covered with refried beans, salsa, cheese, and chopped lettuce and tomato.

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